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Tamim Ansary; Atta Arghandiwal Education. (2013) Discussing the past, present and future of Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan 55, Us 6, U.s. 6, California 4, United States 4, Taliban 3, America 3, Islam 3, Kansas City 2, San Francisco 2, Pakistan 2, Pendulum 1, Nato 1, Robert Rosenthal 1, Online 1, Weston 1, Sangamon 1, Charlie 1, Jerry Roofie 1, Dennis 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Tamim Ansary; Atta Arghandiwal  Education.  (2013)  
   Discussing the past, present and future of Afghanistan.  

    July 7, 2013
    4:00 - 5:01pm EDT  

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i'll be the chair for today's prom called afghanistan. we also welcome our listening and internet audiences and invite everyone to visit us online at www.commonwealth club.org. and now it's my pleasure to introduce our speakers. tamim was born in kabul where father was a professor and his mother taught the first school for girls. he is the writer, lecturer, teacher and director of the san francisco writer's work shop. , in, in... block -- he has written the game without rowells. ...
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he will also sign the book after the program. i think today's program will be very interesting. you may hear differing perspectives and a lot about the history of afghanistan. if you read these two books, which are both wonderful, you will the context and the history of afghanistan. if you read the other you will see a character that comes to life during the history that will talk. be will start off. [applause] >> thank you all for being here. thank you to the commonwealth club. let me check the time so i don't
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go over. i am sure all of you are interested in what is going on in afghanistan right now, who is contesting for the presidential seat and the election is next year, what happens after the nato forces withdraw, i've they do. we can get into all of them with questions and so on, but as a historian what i am interested as i got here. and i feel that how we got here is part of the question of where we go from here. and, you know, this book, i have gone back to what i consider the origins of the afghan nation state, about two and a half centuries ago and trace the narrative bark of that country, that emerging developing country which is still not quite developed. note that the origins go back to the same time the united states was taking shape. what i see, this territory that
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we now call afghanistan was populated by many tribes, clans, differing populations, but it was also permeated by a sense of uniformity of cultured, of which is long was, perhaps, the most important finding factor, but there are also values in common, a sense of common history. something about the social structure that you would find. so there were various levels of power, but the people in the villages and the people in the cities and their rulers and the presence and the poor and the rich, they might have conflicts, but they considered themselves all to be part of the same world then in the course of history what happened is is very different cultural entity suddenly appeared on the afghan seen. it was pressing in on this area. these were the global powers his culture was basically weston and his of this territory as an important spot because of
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strategic considerations the heaviest of separates from the lighter stuff, there is some
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stance in which afghan society -- society separated into two societies, and there was this urban were rationalized elite and this other, you know, and were looking old country, that was afghanistan. and these are both, you know, both aspects of afghan society. they are in contention and have been for control of the identity of afghanistan, so this is a story that has been going on from the beginning, partly caused by the various incursions and interventions, but then there is a separate story which is that every 40 years or so without fail, like clockwork -- well, not quite like clockwork, but about every 40 years some form of global power has tried to commend and dominate the afghan scene and control it and use it for its own purposes.
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there have been periods throughout afghan history and the rulers of tennis and have taken advantage of their geographical position of afghanistan to play a sort of neutrality card using the favoritism toward one global power complain that against the possibility of leading toward the other global power to keep both of them somewhat debate. this has been the diplomatic strategy of successful afghani rulers whenever there have been any, and the cold war, for example, was a notable time. but the u.s.s.r. and the united states are interested, competing to enlarge there and floods in the country, and somehow because of the counterbalancing of those two forces there was a time when afghans are in control of their own destiny. during that time you saw modernization and change in afghanistan that was more rapid and dramatic than you have seen
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anywhere in this country. that ended when the pendulum of trying to swing back and forth between inner afghanistan and the other world started to swing so fast and so far that it finally crashed. the country succumbed to a coup by the small communist group which is then quickly was followed by the soviet invasion. we are still in the aftermath of the after effects of the soviet invasion. the soviet invasion pretty much destroyed the fabric of the country. you know, the 6 million refugees that it drove the country, the destruction of the villages, the tearing apart of the tribal structures, and the creation of a state of war in which, you know, the old, traditional afghan systems for generating
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leaders gave way to a new system which was invested of chaos if you have a gun in your go with it you were probably going to end up being an important guide. so that brought into being a whole other class of afghan leaders who are commanders. now they call them warlords. and that entered the fray. when the soviets left, those guys all started fighting each other and tore cities apart. and then in the wake of that. now we are in the country. i think we have come in with something of the same idea that the soviets had, which was this is the primitive country in a lot of trouble. if we can restore everything and reduce material benefits there would be grateful and come over. there is more to it than that.
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there's the reconstruction of the afghan institutions, the family structure and the reconciliation of all these contending factors on the afghan see a. this business is not completely separate from the contentious within the afghan society over dominating the identity of afghanistan. how much time have i used? i can keep going? all right. i was so efficient that i said almost everything have to say. [laughter] so now i could go back and get into all of that at great length. but i will just say this. you know, i went back to afghanistan in 2012, this last year. part of my mission was to help a group take their trees to different villages and plant them. and so we went some distance.
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we did not go to the war-torn areas because their war-torn. we were timid. but we went where we could. we went, for example, to my home ancestral village and then we went out to some further districts. and i saw things in afghanistan that more interesting for me because what i saw w
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some of the tv stations are putting on such an aggressive investigative news. you guys would be proud of it. they go to the places where these suicide bombers have taken place. they find video and broadcast it and that has an effect on public opinion. if you just hear some place was bombed you can manipulate the spin. so that is one aspect. the other is they have aggressively called to the carpet afghan officials were
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involved in punitive corruption. they bring of documents. not that that stopped any of the corruption, but it is important that the media existent people in these systems villages conceded. on the other hand, you know, i will tell you that i went there and i stayed with my relative. the is someone i never met but closely tied to the village. but he is a second cousin, second cousin, very close in afghan terms. and i went to his house. it was two days before i saw his life because it was not clear that i was close enough to the family to be admitted to the inner circle. then i will also report to you that after that it was like, okay, this guy is family. then our dinners shifted from
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just twitter.com/booktv and the boy children to the family dinner. so then we were all together there. and so now he sits yourselves, the woman was kept in the back room. well, i tell you, once we were all together, well, i want to go there and do this. a live with sangamon not going to go there and do that. you're going to the village soon visit the shrine of our great ancestor. i don't have time. you're going to make time. there was not anything. they're is a structured that was characteristic of afghan society in the distant past and is still there all of the country. so the negotiation of the old afghanistan and the culture of
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the outside world is very deeply mixed up with what is going to happen going forward. i will just up there. [applause] >> thank you very much. you made much of so much easier. i'm not a historian. i am just so fortunate to be here in a position to be allowed to speak on behalf of the afghan people. the reason i embarked on this journey is indeed for the afghan people. for millions of people that have nothing to do with the decisions of the few. so my mission is in the bat. that is -- i wrote the book to be part of the dialogue and talk about the decency of human beings and a loss of decency. that is what is important to me.
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in that regard, whenever people i speak to, when i sounds judgmental. when i talk about the social aspects of life, it is very difficult, especially in today's environment where there are so many different opinions and extreme ideas. extreme ideas. it is amazing. so the put me in a position and said, oh my god. you are you to tell us this? and my answer to that is, i am a great citizen of the united states. not just an average citizen. i do things that others would not. i am by great afghan. i erin afghan american. i am here to represent decent people. that's what i tell them.
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please don't be judgmental. a lady who was a little bit upset, which she knew about afghanistan. whenever questions was, what to the people of afghanistan once? and me, it was really -- great question. i said, what would you like? well, i really want to know what you want to live. well, great. that is exactly what the people of afghanistan want. one meal a day. that is not even available. how things are prioritized, politicians are prioritizing things. people are suffering. it is not because of lack of money. there is more money in this world than you can imagine.
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i am a banker. i was in banking for 20 some odd years. i have been in all aspects of it. there is no lack of money and the earth. it is how it is prioritized and distributed. howard is prioritized by government. so again, mission was to talk about -- the opening of the dollar, the real afghanistan, the peace to afghanistan. after 1990 had its share of peace and prosperity. my mother calls it prosperity. it did not really developed, was elected. go back to that environment where was one of the most peaceful spots around the world. in my have green, we were
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tourists from all over the world were coming to enjoy afghanistan . i as a tour guide would take them where it would be considered a gift of that village. by the way, a country where killing of a person to my every village around afghanistan, that is what they tell people about. we did. our father would tell us. a prayer. oh, somebody has been killed. we will go to there. that is a rear talk about. i want to talk to people about the fact that afghanistan was never our corrupt nation. it is not okay -- the college a corrupt nation today, but corruption. especially in the last 13 of 14 years.
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when people integrated and went to a neighboring country and is certified, trade ammunition, so people, so as you beings. that is on corruption came. that is when it started. i remember in the place or lived , very well-known as to who you are everyone -- the whole area would be ashamed. today it is the business all over. that's the afghanistan now we know. but the model that is used. what was really the benefits? what did they do? and i wish and i pray that there is a model and the world will realize and know that as a model to bring back. what was it? what kept society so close
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together? what is this. this is -- are you serious? we lived within the area where every single ethnicity live together, played together, played soccer, coachman. my sisters went to school with them. we have no problem. we can see our neighbor and talk to them and our bread. that is the society of afghanistan was. what you're hearing is not what it was. what you're seeing, the images on tv, it's not what afghanistan wise, and that is what really hurts. as my mission, to talk to people and bring it to the world's attention, the model we're using is the wrong model. when i went back after all these years, i was the first.
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we were hurting so bad. that was one that you could only read my book. other stores are there, but just read my story and how i left my home and what happened. i had a meeting with my managers. that date, only that tent, i can't even imagine, i can't tell you what they went through. to know the attacks on my own country your on the united states is launched from my own native country. that was servile. that is why i was on a mission to go back and do something. want to go and help. a really want to deal help. i had a ten. plan. the only a high-school education-done some things that these people into. it's about the fact that priorities.
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go back and win the hearts. when i went back and saw what i saw i just could not believe when i saw. it is not a lack of money. he he cannot buy people with money. he said no, please let me. i got to give you is $10. the first thing he asked was, come to america. how did you know? and he said, well, unfortunately they give out money, they throw money. so a ten year old can support seven members of the family. he did not want to give the money without shining shoes to give him $20.
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the point is people might did not be educated but they're not stupid. the cds me what the people of afghanistan what. we believe there are criminals. they're not. they're good people. there innocence. they have been victimized. read the history. victimized for years and years. they have been abandoned. a position in my book, afghanistan, they abandon. that is exactly what happened. how was it possible for the world to allow in saudi arabia, national to go run rule another country. what happened? how was it possible for these outlaws of the middle east and others to go and rule another country or other nations? what is that doing to us? what is happening? so the point is, again, my whole
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focus as been really to talk about the real great afghanistan , the peaceful days were basically a lot of western societies and governments were building has schools in afghanistan. tourists were there. the organizations were there. good things are happening. we were growing, making progress. the sisters are going to school. they're looking ahead. then, of course, here comes the russians and the neighbors trying to get their hands in the affairs of the afghan people. the rest is history because i don't want to go through any of those. again, it is really a tragedy as to what has really happens afghanistan. it really is. and again, my mission is to be able to talk about that, doctor of the qualities of the past. and i am very engaged an afghan society community. trying to really not only enlighten them, but encourage
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them and challenge them to become the best systems that they can be, whether here or anywhere around the world, to stand on their feet and not accept the fact that today that their country is known as one of the most corrupt nations or a country that is known for opium, topple opium producer around the world. there's nothing to be proud of and that. afghans should understand that and do something about it, not only around the world, but inside, you know, to go on a peaceful type of the uprising, start thinking, start to get educated. it's not going to happen. i was doing some studies as part of my book. top producers of weapons. and know who is planting all those bombs and grenades inside afghanistan. i know who they are. it is not the solution. is not going to accomplish anything. as long as we have arms we will
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not have peace. you will not have stability or security. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. so, now it is time for q&a. i am a moderator for today. we have a lot of questions. two such distinguished and knowledgeable people, we will have more of a conversation. i hope you guys get involved with each other. i will be the guy here today, but i think, you know, one of the things that is clear is the west and america, you know, did not understand us, charlie and the standoff casts and restored early. we have seen that happen over and over again. you talk about the great game. start off talking about the role and what you mentioned today in your brief presentation, your
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family and the scale, the role of the family clan and the interrelationships with lead to the definition which i think may be uniquely afghan about what it means to be later. you can start talking about that . >> well, you know, the first thing to talk about -- excuse me . the extent to which life in afghanistan is shaped by personal relationships. and i would draw a contrast to hear that we are familiar with society in which there is a lot of them personal institutions, and we think of getting a job. you go and fill out application. in afghanistan the age-old idea is if you want to get a job to go talk to someone in no 70 your job. that, i think, my son like corruption once you mix the two systems together, but you have
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to remember that the original afghanistan was a world in which there were sort of know appointed officials. everybody knew each other in the area where they lived. everybody was somebody in a family structure. there were networks of relationships and patronage that were, you know, that evolves through someone doing a favor for somebody, not as a buy and sell thing, not i did this for you, now yom . it is is building a relationship over the course of time those relationships extend over generations. people whose fathers were eminent and did great things, they have a low up on being a more important person, but they after secure that by their own great deeds. there is an intricate social network of dos and don'ts and sheds insurance. no one could tell you what they are. they just know it.
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and in a social interaction, those who do that grace lee and well gain prestige and those who do that awkwardly, clumsily, they lose prestige. so how people become leaders is the subtle, and to personal, interactive process. and that is there grassroots afghanistan. that is out village elders, for example, emerged. that is out even clerics to merge. you know, people who want to be, they are not appointed. they hang around with the existing and learn how works. after a while there been so helpful that they are just part of the scene. and that is how. and then if there are disputes to be adjudicated in a village -- in this is still the case in many villages, the people of the village, the men of the village
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gather in a have a tribal council and discuss that matter, whatever it is, criminal matters are often discussed that with. nobody is appointed to that council. the prestigious people who sit closer to the center. the people who have less prestige around the outside. what's going on? so that system of finding leaders at the local level and the original society of afghanistan recapitulating l.a. [roll call] that is the way that the families negotiate with each other. even chinese. and i would just add one thing which is to say that although there is this country that is divided into many tribes is not the case that the tribes and plans are always fighting each other.
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they live in separate areas and interact in various ways. sometimes they fought, but not all the time. >> you want to follow-up on that? >> a creek point. a great explanation. it is that history. great leaders. and these are -- money would be one. a phenomenal impact that he had been. people like that to my father commences they're helping anybody. so i think afghanistan had an incredible number of leaders. today there's a gap in not having that. the so-called leaders, the commanders of never been to school and have no education and today they have the support of
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their constituents. armies. just imagine there is this gap. >> let me just add one other thing. because of that system emerging, i think what is misunderstood by outside entertainers is that when you set up a rational process and get the people that are identified and then somebody is elected, that guy is not necessarily the leader. he is now ratified. he has the title. he's the president. is he really a leader? maybe, but he has to shore that up by an operating and another system as well. >> we are now at a point the u.s. is preparing are hoping to leave.
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this foundation of understanding afghan culture and the role of family and what defines a leader in what makes a culture work, so let's go forward. i have two questions. how did the u.s., how did they not learn from the past? what lessons should we have lived? and going forward now, where is the solution? can you see that happening? >> i believe we had a great opportunity. somebody did ask me. i'm just really sad to say. it's like a lottery. another chance to come out of this all misery. we have an opportunity. and to do that. people are on the run. we had great times to recruit.
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building a strong national army like the past where people could have defended their own country. we went to the warlords, the commanders and said they have a bag of money. going build your own army. so what it did was a really, again, kind of brought in a different type of culture and environment. and it took real leaders to the earlier conversation, the control of the village or respect to the older, those things i never stopped. so it was a huge mistake in that regard the we did not really address from the very beginning to understand the cultural aspects of the society, build an army and actually build the infrastructure to really gain support of the public. going forward the way for him to
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go back and rely on those tribal leaders. give them back to their own rural area, give their real support, not cash, but real support as structure to build their own area, and if we don't gain the support of all the trouble areas, there will not be peace in afghanistan. i can assure you. >> well, you know, i just wanted for say that i don't want to come off as saying afghanistan turned into a mess because a lot of stupid people madelin of dumb mistakes. afghanistan is a mess because it was hard to fix that and there was a lot of competition. you know, the question of building a national army, the question was first and remains, you have an army. we do have an army in afghanistan now. but the question is, when the foreign forces leaving, if there is any interruption in the pay, whose army is that?
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there has to be the development of the sense of leaders, people who are in charge of that army that will enable the people in that army to say, yes, these are our leaders. that is the problem. if we want to go back to 2002 and what happened there and anyone can give their opinions. to me the major thing that the u.s. did not do was to go in there with a lot of small scale but really distributed help. also did not do something that i know is very difficult to do. it did not feed control of the development moneys that it was bringing in to afghans because it is understandable to some extent. talking about technocratic experts. then know is right and they're
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worried that afghans was career that. you have to allow for afghans to take charge of their own destiny because that is out you build -- that is what enables a generation of afghans to come into. he just go in there from hire some afghans to break rocks and build the highway from one major city to another, you have sidelined all of the afghans along the road in every part of the process and you just give afghanistan highway. that is now really help. you have to do it in such a way that they are participants. gives into extreme detail. >> where you're both saying is you think there is an afghan solution if there were left alone to do it. the russians, iranians, the u.s., other interests.
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the taliban. so how do you see that next. with all those forces the work? "we will eventually be? >> if you are only thinking of the u.s. presence in afghanistan as being -- helping afghans, you're in trouble. the u.s. is not of afghanistan. afghans are not entitled to be fixed by the united states. like all of the great powers of the past to does actually have to cheesy interest. my thesis is it can best serve the strategic interest by having an independent autonomous afghanistan that is from the tea
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as states. strongly associated with them will not cut its ties with being a muslim country. the domination defense per u.s. interest, but i think they do have to be there because of all these things you said. those guys are going to be swarming in two days after. >> outside interest said there are bigger questions. how you control the neighbors and the interest. let's get the latest example. the area of afghanistan and pakistan, the true conspiracy, basically an attack on both
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sides, trying to actually question the line that was drawn . and then said, are you serious? that is the problem? the land area, mountainous area that we question who belongs to well we have all these problems. that is the end. whether it be one or another, these are the kind of instructions. comptroller neighbors. as long as they have their hand in the afghan affair. >> program. yes some wonderful personal themes. very powerful.
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afghanistan a great description we're seeing around the corrupt officials. one of the things i found most memorable, the home village. you visit your father's grave, but also attacked you earlier. can you describe that scene? what role might they have. protective role, a critical role? >> there really was an eyeopener. the first order the day. kind of just go back to the old days. early-morning.
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they're needed there. one of the first things, was told they did fight. what a wonderful opportunity to deal to connect with some many which we did. my cousin said there were some gillibrand there. i said, good. with the means? have really want to talk. again, my first opportunity ever to find out. they do go out. they have families. a wonderful opportunity. the mosque was full. they found out that i was coming not because i need to be honest with you but my brother was such a great fighter for ten years. he was well-known. boston to cancer. but he was very well-known. like a champion to them.
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they have great respect. completely fill the. people have sidelining of. we all prayed together. at the end. i will tell you that i could not find an older person in 25 years old in the group. really, really sad. eighteen, 17, young, incredible features. and so i said one of the questions quickly was -- by said , what did you pay them? well, i believe they're averaging about $50 a month. and because they have no jobs. again, take a look at this. not a single school except for one school that had been built by a gentleman. so want to talk about -- well, could have been a school, these
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kids could have been going to. but it was not going to address. it was just like -- almost nothing. lack of opportunity. grow these people, these kids. build them into a society. two different types of taliban. local are really, these kids that have no idea what it is. they could religious purpose of something. being attacked now. these people should be brought then. part of a society. then you have the extremists. is the people they're walking from the borders, chechnya,
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wherever. there are all on not mountains area, pakistan. that's the kind of thing that exists. someplace where the moderate taliban, absolutely. they should be brought then. they should be given a place to build their own society and be part of the solution. >> address that question. one of the most powerful elements, schools and what has happened to them. use them as a symbol. maybe you can tie that in. some examples. >> well, there is one thing to say about schools. we tend to think -- we tend to use the words cool and then think of it as a neutral good the way you would medical care. actually, the taliban also has
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schools. the contention was about what kind. they had like 30,000 of the schools along the border where they talk, you know, fundamentalist, a geologist is on the city elegy around, you know, saying some of the profit and so on and also. many of them, they taught them how to shoot guns. so when we your anybody puts schools in an area where there is conflict, that is also part of the conflict. so i just want everyone to be aware that. and one of the turning points of the -- of the post september 113 construction of afghanistan came during the year 2006 when there were 200 attacks on schools and closing down of schools car really traumatizing people in those areas. there were all in the areas that were not very well under control. and so in a way the children
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were made hostages to the war of the older folks. that was a terrible thing. the other thing i want to say about schools is, although many schools have been built. there is, you know, over 2 million girls in school, there is still a real crisis of schooling, and there is still a big problem. and with perot's cooling, one of the problems is that the culture still has a dominant -- conservative culture still has some much control that it is able to restrict the education of girls of a certain age by men. so there are people who say, well, we are not against girls education, but they must be taught by women. now the problem is that the dark days when women were not being educated because of the town
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back in control of the afghanistan, there is a gap of women who can teach. and so women who are teaching him girls. they themselves are studying the next grade up as hard as they can so that they can stay at of the students. as a problem. the other problem that i saw -- this is my opinion, but in my day there were a number of schools. there were opened by the government. there was a curriculum. now there are hundreds of schools. people send their kids to private schools and not to these big public schools. they specialize in a very technical education. they specialize in, you know -- the university of microsoft works. and i think that kind of schooling, when it replaces the kind of schooling worry less literature, jerry roofie, history, you know, the history
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of our country, all the stuff, it tends to add to the fragmentation. i think there has to be some commitment to rebuilding schools as a unifying portion of society. and 70 more days to save those schools. all stop there. >> several questions from the audience about clarity on trying to understand. more of an influence. the role of the afghan future but obviously the past. i don't know if you want to take that on. >> what i quickly want to comment is that we have enjoyed, as you said, remarkable, remarkable, you know, benefit of religion in our upbringing. again, this was not really a factor in all.
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collaborate and talk in respect. but it really has taken a different form. to be honest with you, lot of it is a game. i was very astounded lies off the images of some of the neighbors that a charge a separate. it was devastating just to see that. so they're all basically funded. that is kind of -- and others not enough time to talk about that, but that is what is happening. so the on-site influence is enormous. and it would never have happened in the past. it is something that brings people together. >> you know, i am going to set aside because i don't think that is the important question to
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ask. i think that in the old afghanistan his mom was like an atmosphere. it was everywhere and it was not a separate thing from the life. and afghans -- they consider themselves very devout muslims. there would not even say i'm religious because what does that mean? it was a soft kind of islam that was mixed in ways people did not bother to differentiate. and i think that in the course of these wars the thing that happened is that this other kind of hard aced doctrinaire, the international revolutionaries. that came into afghanistan, and i believe that some younger afghans are sympathetic. partly because the old ways,
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they lost the connection to their own history. they're grasping for something. this stuff just comes in as a package and you can take all thank. i would say forget about that, talk about conventional conservative islam, old-fashioned as long, and is politicize is long, whole different thing. >> i appreciate it. we are encouraged. it was part of what you wanted to do because it was embraced rather than be forced. and you're so right. what it is now. these people that actually have moved. so they grasp that. no employment, jobs, nothing. they're not associated. by the way, the name of islam and nationality, to tell people that there being threatened, the
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country is being occupied. >> unfortunately we are getting near the end of the program so i will ask one last question and i would like tebow to answer is there every like. really have a few minutes. we are we are today. obviously a tumultuous and chaotic moment. can you framed the last question i will post a question to the audience about the role of women going ford. can you tell what you hope happened in the next cycle and also what role you hope women will have in the emerging and changing afghanistan? >> i was just say this, in that golden time when i grow up in afghanistan and their lawyers a rapid development of the liberation and empowerment of women, it was plain that afghan women have powerful within the. that is racist capable of
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adjusting to accommodating so that becomes a society in which men and women have an equal place in public life. afghans can do it. i will let go the frame here. outsiders can spoil it. >> that's a tough thing. >> not a whole lot of support from the national in terms of support. afghan women and basically a lot of outside forces or actually the internet such. these have been a great job in trying to really encourage a woman. the leaders themselves. >> someone asked another question. if you are an afghan now, how do
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you perceive the russian intervention in the american intervention? we coming to a place for the afghans perceived a similar occupiers? >> i went back to afghanistan twice to man those two times in two dozen to read after the taliban and were driven out and into dozens of last year after to news of the americans being. everything i saw has been reduced to rubble. the physical country was more destroyed in any place i've ever seen. i felt like the social atmosphere of the country was not changed at all. it was the afghanistan that i knew. i came back ten years later and i feel like the country has changed more in the last ten years than it did in the previous 38, and there is no rubble. wherever there is rubble the other is a skyscraper. probably wedding palace where some rich person as a thousand guests.
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i feel that, you know, the -- there is some way in which they have been able to stand up to bonds but not dollars. >> you know, you are right. i did go in search of the answer to that question. and in it, again, as i referred to in the beginning, it's about priorities. eleven children tell me, you know, she was trying really tough to talk about america. and i said why? and said, well, it is not for us, not for me, not for my children. it's for the few. dennis is the question. the benefit of a few, not the masses. that is why they look at this very differently. otherwise they're needed felt.
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>> okay. thanks. he is the director of the san francisco writers' workshop. wanted thank the men who describes himself as a banker but is really am a writer now. his book, lost decency, the untold left and story. we also want to thank our audience is here as well as those listening to the recording and on the internet. i am robert rosenthal, executive director for the center for investigative reporting. this meeting of the commonwealth club of california is celebrating 110 years of the lead discussion is adjourned. [applause] >> thank you. it would be in the top five oil
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producers in the nation. to put this in a little more context, 75 percent of all of oil production in california is done in kern county, and over 50% to of the natural gas produced in california is right here. so we are really looking and when you are in this county, oil along with agriculture, the two largest industries that we have commanded really turns the economy. >> explore the history of literary life of bakersfield, california, this weekend on book tv and american history tv. >> history professor at the university of virginia. leaders of the british charge rent revolutionary war examine the tactical decisions.
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the kansas city public library. an hour. [applause] >> thank-you. thank you for reading the book so carefully. thank you also for wearing a monticello time. i'm very grateful to the kansas city public library. ..